Thursday, February 06, 2014

Bad girls?

Missouri lesbians getting smeared...

Before I go further, the priest involved is just fine - he was being a good pastor.  He's a good guy.  He did nothing wrong.

The fall out after the news broke is getting a little nasty however.  The way discussions online are going, the women involved are beginning to sound more like LCWR women and gay dissidents than ordinary parish volunteers and EMHC's.  Women of Grace blog offers a comment from another blog which suggests the women were 'not that innocent'.

“We are blessed to have Fr. Kneib as our pastor! Stand Strong Fr.!” said the commenter named Cws94family. ” . . . We have not lived here for a very long while, but these two have been seen off and on at Masses over the last several years. We have been told they go back and forth between our parish and the local Episcopal church. Now, while we didn’t really know what was going on, we suspected it, but still hoped for the best…that perhaps they were living as sisters. And as far as we know, only one of them is actually a Catholic.” - See more at:

Most of the comments like that one seem to be based on conjecture and hearsay.

It is always better to wait for the news to distill than to react without knowing the details of the story.

In my opinion, I believe the priest, Fr. Kneib acted charitably and humbly, respectfully and discreetly, contacting the women in advance of the funeral.  Naturally, the women would experience the phone call as a negative.  Afterwards they 'alerted the media' - what their motivation was is not clear.  Do they really want to "let’s-try-to-force-the-Church-to-change-her-teaching" by going public and seeking support from an LGBTQ rights group?  Perhaps they do now, after all the reaction to the story.

The fact remains that until Fr. Kneib came along the women either didn't know any better, or they were convinced everything about their private life was just fine.  Fr. Kneib helped them see things differently.   If they weren't able to correct the priest's impression, and since they indeed refrained from Holy Communion, the priest's pastoral guidance is more than validated.  No one knows if the women are in the state of mortal sin, although some commentators have said as much.  

I think Catholics need to be a bit more careful to avoid demonizing folks who may simply be confused about Catholic moral teaching, or who have received bad catechesis along the way.  The reaction of the two women is understandable in that light.  

The Women of Grace blog ends with the best advice:  Let us keep all involved in this incident in our prayers!

Smearing the priest...

As more of the details on this story come out, the poor priest is likewise being 'demonized' by those who oppose Catholic moral teaching and the discipline of the sacraments.

As I said, Fr. Kneib did nothing wrong - neither was he insensitive.  He must be given credit for his charity and discretion.  In the first place, he took the extraordinary measure of contacting the women privately, in advance to let them know there was a problem - he was clearly acting to avert a greater scandal.  What transpired after the fact - the press reports and criticism of the priest and the Church - has annoyed and angered ordinary, faithful Catholics.  That too is understandable.*  Unfortunately some of the remarks against the 'lesbian' women are angry, sarcastic, and mean spirited.  Yet that is what happens when a group attempts to discredit the Church and her ministers who uphold Catholic teaching.

Though a funeral is not the ideal emotional situation to offer pastoral correction, I'm grateful Fr. Kneib helped to make Catholic teaching more clear on this issue.

I too pray for all involved - and especially pray these two older women can be reconciled with the Church.

*It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
 - CDF


  1. It takes a certain level of sophistication to go to the press, the girl brought this on herself, and on everyone else. Perhaps she was ignorant of Church teaching, but then again sex outside of marriage is pretty basic to the Faith. Seriously, how many church rat types don't don't know that fornication is a sin?

    Given what she did, and given her position in the parish, the burden of proof is on her to prove she did not know after she made a spectacle of herself.

    When our oldest daughter was denied communion at daily Mass about 15 years ago because she was kneeling (which she was allowed to do), we could have gone to the Bishop and caused actual harm to the priest because it is a serious offense to deny communion, but did we? No. Nor did it even cross our minds to try to cause more problems.

    1. Wow - a priest denied her communion because she knelt. That is sad.

      God bless you and your family.

  2. A completely not unexpected response. Much like the school teacher in Montana who because pregnant. "We love babies!" and "We're pro-life," but "Sorry woman, kiss your job goodbye--you're on your own."

    1. I'm sorry I'm such a disappointment.

    2. No no no... I wasn't referring to you. I meant the Church's response.

    3. No problem - I guess I've been feeling like a disappointment then.

      Say a prayer for me.


    4. Of course. Me, too.

  3. +JMJ+

    When I was teaching in a Catholic high school, one of my students became pregnant. When her condition became obvious, she was told that she could not come back to class. But because it was her senior year and she had been in the school since kindergarten, the principal made a special concession, instructing the teachers to continue giving the girl homework--just enough to let her graduate with a diploma and a C- average on her report card. No extra work, no chance to get that grade higher.

    Someone in the PTA asked the principal why she didn't just let the girl come back to class, as a greater and more visible act of compassion. The principal said, "If I let even one girl off the hook, the next year there will be more. And after that, more." It was actually an act of charity to the rest of the students to show them that sin has real consequences.

    1. That makes total sense. Thanks for adding that.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.